Reach Out & Touch Somebody

We live in a fast moving society. Full of new and exciting things, coupled with hundreds of new ways of communicating with each other. It would seem we are more connected then ever, but is this true? In a world governed by global trade, productivity and the worship of the mighty dollar, it would seem there has never been a time where human affection has been more needed.

Most of us have fond affectionate memories of childhood. The warm embrace of our mother as we headed off to school for the first time, or our fathers hand resting on our back as we learnt to ride a bike. It was these gentle acts of affection that helped nurture us as human beings and become confident and compassionate adults.

The Dalai Lama notes, “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” He believes very strongly that without affection as humans we can not reach our full potential. So why is affection so important?

As humans we communicate in multiple ways. There are the obvious things like writing, talking and drawing which have allowed us to communicate complex ideas. These forms of language have allowed us to develop complex cities, amazing architecture and intricate computers.

The other form of communication is body language and affection. These forms of expression are used to communicate feelings and to establish relationships with other people. Since humans are social animals and depend on their ability to socially interact to survive, one could argue these are the most important forms of communication, yet ironically are the least understood on a conscience level.

Lets think about affection and what it communicates with us. Can we express in words what it feels like when someone we trust hugs us or holds us? Are words sufficient or does it make more sense to give them a smile in return instead?

I am sure we have all heard of the saying, “actions speak louder than words”. There is a lot of truth in this saying. let’s take the word “Love” for example. When someone expresses love to us through words we assume they connect the same meaning to the word as we do. That is, we assume their world view of love is exactly the same world view as ours.

Love, to most of us is connected with loyalty, trust, commitment and compassion. Love is an act of caring for someone after we are able to fully love and accept ourselves. The truth is, not everyone grew up in a “loving” environment and established the same meaning. To some, love means punishment, abuse and manipulation. Sadly, through no fault of their own, some are likely to replicate the behaviour unless they become conscience of their actions.

Affection could be considered the language of love. Affection is a positive behaviour and is connected with nurturing and encouraging growth. In many primates affection is one of the most prevalent forms of communication and is closely linked with trust and belonging. I encourage you to watch some footage of Mountain Gorillas and observe how they relate to each other.

In a world inundated with mobile technologies affection is beginning to disappear from human interaction. Could it be that this loss of affection is leading to greater social intolerance and isolation? Are we focusing on the words to much, and not on the very behaviours that make us human? As a famous song from Noise Works said, “reach out and touch somebody".

Reach Out & Touch Somebody

Nick Griffin

Hobart, Australia

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

We live in a fast moving society. Full of new and exciting things, coupled with hundreds of new ways of communicating with each other. It would seem we are more connected then ever, but is this true?

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